Advice to other groups The infection may be more serious for people who have diseases which impair their immune system and for people who have certain serious blood HPA North West disorders such as sickle cell disease. Parents of children who have inherited anaemia or immune deficiency should seek advice from their doctors. For more information about Parvovirus B19 Infection contact: The Community Infection Control Nurse at your local Primary Care Trust (PCT) 01204 907709 907752 or your local Health Protection Unit 0161 786 6710 Parvovirus B19 Infection (Slapped Cheek Syndrome) (Fifth Disease) Information produced by: Health Protection Agency North West The Health Protection Agency is a new independent organisation dedicated to protecting people’s health. It brings together the expertise formerly in a number of official organisations. Date: September 2005 Review Date: September 2007 Website: http://www.hpa-nw.org.uk/ Infections are most common in the spring or early summer. INFORMATION LEAFLET Do you need to stay off school/nursery/work? What is parvovirus B19 infection? NOT USUALLY - Usually children will feel quite well. They only need to Parvovirus B19 infection is a viral infection and symptoms include: stay off school /nursery if they are ill. This is the same for adults, but adults do tend to be affected with symptoms more commonly, particularly joint • Fever pains and general aches. • Rash - a lace-like red rash usually on the limbs and across the shoulders • The incubation period (the period between infection and the • Red cheeks - this symptom is most common in children and is the appearance of signs and symptoms) is between 4-20 days - average reason for the infection’s other name “slapped cheek syndrome” 14 days. • Joint aches and pains • A person developing the disease is infectious (capable of spreading the virus to other people) for 7 days before the onset of the rash Human Parvovirus B19 infection is also called: • Once the rash has appeared the risk of passing on the infection drops • Slapped cheek syndrome dramatically. • Fifth disease • Erythema infectiosum How do you prevent spread? It is not the same disease as parvovirus in pets, and there is no protective vaccine. • This is almost impossible because people are infectious before they show symptoms of the infection and we do not, as yet, have a vaccine to How is parvovirus B19 caught? prevent the infection occurring. • Washing hands with soap and warm water after contact with urine or • By being in close personal contact with someone who already has blood is a sensible precaution. the infection. • By breathing in the aerosol spray from an infected person via their coughing and sneezing. • Rarely from direct contact with the blood or urine of someone who Advice to pregnant women already has the infection. • It is not caught from animals or inanimate objects like towels or from After 20 weeks of pregnancy, there is no known risk to the baby. food. Before 20 weeks, if you have had close contact with a case during the Who can it affect? infectious period (before the rash appears) see your doctor. Your doctor may wish to consider testing for immunity or infection, and monitoring the • Usually children The infection is most common in children between baby. the ages of 5-14 years. • Some adults Approximately half (50%) of all adults will have been The virus does not cause malformations in the baby in the way German infected at some time in their lives and have gained immunity. measles (rubella) does.
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